Goat milk caramel


imageWhen it comes to caramel, nobody does it better than the Mexicans. They have something called ‘dulce de leche’ which is made of evaporated milk. It’s so lush and creamy. They also make it with goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk, in which case they call it ‘cajeta’.

On a recent trip to Mexico city, I stopped by a great little churros place called ‘El Moro’, and ordered some churros with cajeta to dip them in. I was half expecting it to be slightly different or maybe even savory, just like goat’s cheese, but it was a perfectly normal caramel sauce. It was very sticky, and perhaps not as creamy as dulce de leche, but it did the trick for a guy with a sweet tooth.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test – 8


Cactus pads


One thing you can get quite easily in Mexico, where I am at the moment, which I haven’t seen anywhere are nopales or cactus pads. I’ve had it two or three times now, usually as a side dish. It’s prepared by scraping off the needles, cutting it into strips and cooking it. The first time I had it I thought it looked like green beans. They had a similar texture as well, if you cook your beans until very soft that is. The ones I had tasted great, with a nice coating of spices that kind of reminded me of star anise and clove. I do think that if you eat them plain, there won’t be much flavor.

Fear Factor – 0 / Taste Test 8

Astronaut ice-cream


imageAs a kid I was always fascinated with space travel, and I still watch a lot of Sci-Fi. We were always told that astronauts get freeze-dried food that they would rehydrate, including the famous astronaut ice cream. I later found out that this is not actually true, but I was still exited to see bags if astronaut ice cream sold at the Museum of American History in Washington DC.

The one that I bought was an ice cream sandwich. The layers of cookie were your average, run of the mill cookies. The ice cream in the middle was completely different though. It had to be, as it wasn’t frozen. It was a solid block of crunchy hardened candy that was not so hard it couldn’t be eaten. It was a little like meringues, but a little harder. In your mouth it would turn creamy which gave the illusion of melting ice cream. It was definitely interesting to eat, but it will only be exciting the first time you eat it.

Fear Factor 0 / Taste Test 7


Blood orange diet Coke


imageThat can of mango diet Coke I had tasted of more, and luckily I was spoiled for choice as I also found a blood orange flavored one. I had high hopes, but they weren’t met unfortunately. Yes, you could taste the blood orange, but neither the Coke itself nor the fruit had a particularly well rounded flavor. They seemed to cancel each other out. It reminded me of the times as a kid when I would mix Coke an Fanta in a glass. Let’s just say I’ve had better successes at cooking since.

Fear Factor 0 / Taste Test – 5


Impossible burger


While in the States, I obviously had a couple of burgers. Shake Shack was a natural choice, but in my search for the unusual I came across something known as the impossible burger. This is a completely vegan burger that supposedly is indistinguishable in look, feel and taste from a regular beef patty. It’s even said to “bleed” which is why the waiter asked how long we wanted it cooked for.

Right of the bat, I was not impressed. It didn’t bleed, it did have a different texture, and it didn’t taste like beef. It was a little bland and a little grainy. I actually enjoy a good veggie burger, and I’ll take one over this one any day. Not that this was a bad burger, but if you pay top dollar, you expect something more.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 6




While visiting the States the past week I was particularly interested in trying out traditional local foods. In New York I tried some bagels, cheesecake and deli sandwiches. In Philadelphia you might think I’d order a cheesesteak, but instead I tried some Pennsylvania Dutch food, including scrapple.

Scrapple is one of those dishes invented for using up every last scrap, hence the name, of the animal like head cheese. Offal, the head and other bits and pieces of a pig are boiled until the broth and meat become one big mush, which is then left to congeal. It’s then often sliced, crumbed and fried, usually for breakfast.

It was indeed breakfast time when I tried this dish. My blogger friend Paul took, who lives near Philadelphia, took me to Pennsylvania Dutch diner, but he wouldn’t touch any scrapple. That made me a little hesitant, but I tried anyway. It wasn’t exceptionally tasty, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It kind of reminded me of a meat croquette that we eat in Holland, made with a ragout that’s then fried as the scrapple was rather soft and mushy on the inside as well. It didn’t have a very strong flavor, but that could be a good thing.

Fear Factor – 5 / Taste Test – 7


Purple potato latte


I’m not a big coffee drinker, I only have it on occasion, but this one I could not pass up. In the fridge of the 7-eleven at Seoul airport was a purple potato latte. That completely threw me off my game. That’s not something I ever dream of finding anywhere.

You can imagine I was, to put it mildly, a little skeptical. Especially when I opened the can and the smell of roasted sweet potato entered my nose. That was the worst part though, as the drink itself didn’t really taste like sweet potato. It was a bit creamier and sweeter than normal, and there wasn’t a heavy coffee flavor, but otherwise it was fine.

Fear Factor – 4 / Taste Test – 6


Grapefruit beer


I don’t often drink beer, as I’m more of a wine drinker. When I do have a beer it’s usually a stronger Belgian triple, or a special beer. There’s a beer bar in Lanzhou with quite a few specials where I went this New Year’s Eve and tried a grapefruit beer made in Czechia.

As far as beers are concerned, this was by far one of the lightest I have ever tried. I would compare it more to water than to beer. There was a hint of citrus though, which made it just a little less dull. I would have been better of ordering a glass of juice.

Fear Factor – 3 / Taste Test – 5


Tofu skin sushi


During my trip to Japan I had my fair share of Japanese food such as sushi, tempura and ramen, but I also wanted to try some authentic Japanese food that we, in the west, are not so familiar with. One of those was a piece of sushi consisting of a pouch made of tofu skin stuffed with sushi rice called inarizushi. I don’t always like tofu, but I do like tofu skin. It has a slightly chewy texture, especially when fried. I thought this sushi was nice, and definitely interesting, but also not all that flavorful. I guess I would be bored of it quickly. Luckily I had a whole conveyor belt of choices running by me.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 7


Raw egg on rice


IMG_7582I’m not to opposed to eating raw egg, I once downed a raw egg in a drunken spell, but it’s not something I seek out either. I’ve come to learn that the Japanese like slimy foods foods such as okra, and often put a raw egg on their rice for breakfast. When in Rome, do as the Romans, and so one morning I ordered a bowl of raw egg topped rice.

It was a whole egg mind you, not just the yolk. For some reason I expected the egg to coagulate and become slightly solidified like a carbonara. The rice was not hot enough though and the egg simply gave it a slightly slimy sauce. I mixed in some chili powder, and found the whole thing to be quite edible. It didn’t taste bad, nor did it have a strange texture. My only concern is that if I hadn’t added the chili it would have made for one bland meal.

Fear Factor – 1 / Taste Test – 7